On the morning of Wednesday, December 8, 2021, there was a mad scramble to get organized for the ride to Kailua Beach. Somehow, we made the deadline, and three cars left Waialua loaded with enough beach gear to fill several cargo ships.
The ride over to Kailua Beach was long. Even the adults in our car asked the question reserved for children—“Are we there yet?”
That question was asked in good fun. But, the ride was full of a variety of scenery and that only enhanced the experience for us.
Gradually, we found our way to the public access parking lot for Kailua Beach. We unloaded, weighted ourselves down with the beach gear, and made the walk over the slight rise to meet the beach. Now, I understand why we made the long drive—Kailua Beach appears to be just about perfect.
We found a good spot to set up our gear and plopped down.
When we arrived the sun was out. The sun worshippers on the trip were excited. They finally could catch some rays. But that optimism changed quickly.
The sun teased peeking in and out of clouds, and as the morning minutes ticked by, the sun became hidden. Clouds came in, the wind picked up, and rain seemed likely. For quite a while, we stubbornly held our ground. Hopeful, that a smiling sun would return.
But, at some point, our hope faded. A decision was made to pack up. Arms loaded again, we trudged back to the cars. We agreed to make the short drive to the famous Kalapawai Market and order sandwiches from their deli.
There are three additional locations of the market scattered around. This store was packed with all kinds of tempting items. Whoever does their purchasing and marketing knows what they are doing. And the BLTA 10 sandwich on sourdough bread that I shared with the Commander Supreme was delicious.
There was a small outside area where we could gather and enjoy our sandwiches. It didn’t take long for the local bird moochers to recognize that a bunch of tourist had arrived.
As the birdies searched for crumbs, we reloaded, and the caravan headed toward the Honolulu Fire Department station in Kahlulu home of Engine Company 37. This is where Betsy’s nephew, Parker, works as a firefighter.
All of the grandkids were excited, and I will admit, so was I.
For some reason, I have always loved fire trucks. I still remember the kindergarten visit to the fire station in Burlington, North Carolina where I grew up. The station at the time had a brass pole for the firefighters to descend from the second floor living quarters when an alarm was sounded.
I know the unique sound of a fire truck’s siren grabs our attention. But for my old ears, the unmistakeable sound of the truck’s engine is what I love to hear. Even without the wail of the siren, I know when a fire truck is on one of our neighborhood streets.
The building for Engine Company 37 is being readied for some renovations. Despite this work, Parker gave us the full tour, and the Captain provided the kids with a bag of treats about fire safety including some hands on crafts.
But, the highlight of the visit was when the Captain gave Parker permission to take the kids with their parents for a ride in the massive truck. Though the raindrop ride was short, all faces, minus one were smiling from this experience. Hudson liked the ride so much that he told his mother he wanted to go for another ride in the truck.
We thanked Parker and his teammates for the tour and headed back to Waialua.
On the morning of Thursday, December 9, I needed a run.
Earlier in the week, Abby and Art had taken us on a walk along the bike path to where it ends. But, they showed us how to extend the path by connecting to the quiet, narrow road named Crozier Lane.
Crozier Lane is a flat, straight shot with houses on the right side that look out on to the blue Pacific. On the left side of the road, the homes were on larger parcels of land.
Architecturally, the houses are a hodgepodge of styles. Some are original. Many have been renovated. And no matter where I look, my eyes are curious.
Occasionally, during the run, I hear the singular crow of a rooster, and once out in front of me some chickens scurried across the road.
Taking this loop allowed me to marvel at the rich green hills in the distance. Some of these large lots on the back side were gated, secluded in appearance. Others were open with lives on display.
Slowly, I made the correct turns to reconnect me with the bike path for the slog back to the house. A few times my attention is drawn to the darting appearance of the saffron finch, a small yellow feathered bird whose head and face are splashed in a faint sunburst orange.
I made it back to the house where I would need to hustle to be ready for a trip to the Dole Plantation.
The ride over to the Dole landmark featured more beautiful agricultural land. At certain points, coffee and banana trees filled in the landscape, and some of those plots appeared to be growing pineapples.
Once at Dole, we opted not to take the popular train ride, but we did fumble through what is billed as the world’s largest maze. Caroline and Hudson enjoyed this nicely designed puzzle of paths.
We did learn a bit while touring around Dole. Pineapples are still grown on the Dole land, but not in quantities large enough to supply the mainland. It takes 16 to 24 months for a pineapple to reach maturity.
Of course, the marketers at Dole have a very nice visitor’s center designed to tempt tourists to open their wallets in support of the Hawaii’s traveler driven economy.
So, if you go to Dole, you must treat yourself to a Dole Whip. This frozen pineapple concoction is a must. I had one, and I immediately wanted another one.
After the Dole Whip, we walked through the store, and yes, we did add to the support of the travel economy.
We crawled back into our assigned seats in the car. On the return ride to Waialua, Hudson requested Christmas music be played.
And while, his request seemed out of place, Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalikimaka” never sounded so good.